Mazara del Vallo (Agenzia Fides) - "A more difficult and painful transition than expected a year ago." This is what the Bishops of CERNA (Episcopal Conference of the North Africa Region) say at the end of their Plenary Assembly (which was held in Mazara del Vallo in Sicily, see Fides 13/11/2012), describing the situation in North Africa struggling with "religious, political and socio-economic" challenges, a year after their penultimate meeting on November 2011.
"The crisis of our neighbor in the south, Mali, the difficult reconstruction of Libya, the uncertainty of the transition process in Tunisia are obvious signs" of the complex situation in which these Countries in the region find themselves, says the final communiqué sent to Fides Agency.
On an ecclesial level the Bishops of North Africa note: "Our Churches are modest and fragile, the departure of some religious communities settled for a long time in the Maghreb and the increasingly rapid mobility of the members of our parishes are forcing us to rely more and more on the solidarity of other Churches and we says thanks for the generosity of the dioceses that propose us Fidei Donum priests, and congregations, especially African, who choose to settle in our region."
The choice of Sicily, "in the heart of the Mediterranean", for the CERNA Assembly "stresses the urgency of dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions, between the three shores of this sea." The Mediterranean peoples, note the Bishops, face issues like the war in Syria, the situation in northern Mali, the extremism of some religious groups that intensify forced migration and strengthen mutual fears. To overcome mutual distrust, the Bishops of North Africa lead to as "their daily experience of mutual understanding, dialogue of life, respect, listening, acceptance and sharing." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/11/2012)